Big City Life

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
Trip End Jul 22, 2014

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Saturday, April 6, 2013

After 7 months of traveling through India and Sri Lanka to suddenly find myself in a massive clean modern city was a bit of a culture shock. Singapore airport is huge but cleared immigration without any hassles. Met up with Jonathon ( my Italian mate) who had a reservation at one of the hostels, so I decide to follow him. Singapore has an amazing metro which is cheap and easy and it wasn't long before we were in Chinatown. Everybody has cell phones or tablets and people walk along watching movies! In our carriage on the metro we were the only 2 not using a phone.

 This is my first experience of staying in a hostel so I was not sure what to expect. Hostels are the cheapest places to stay in this expensive city.The hostel consists of a number of dormitories with 10 bunk bunks in each and with shared bathrooms. The dormitories are mixed and looks much like a boarding school. It was spotlessly clean, included all day tea, coffee and toast as well as free internet and WiFi. Once we were checked in we went into Chinatown to have a look around and get some food. Very touristy and masses of people jostling along the narrow lanes. Lots of street food restaurants selling all types of food but all rather expensive. Especially coming from India. Even in Euro terms it is not cheap. 

Had a good night sleep in the hostel and was surprised to find that it was after 9.30 am that I awoke. Everybody is considerate and quiet. Toast and jam for breakfast. The jam was a strange green colour and had the consistency of Lemon Curd. In fact it is made the same way with eggs and coconuts. Very tasty. Decided to spend the day sight seeing. Singapore is exceptionally clean. You cannot smoke in any buildings or under any walkways. There are fines of up to S$1000 (+- R3000) for littering and for chewing gum. In fact it is illegal to bring chewing gum into the country. There are fines for jay walking so everyone waits at the intersections to cross roads. The drivers stop for you and obey all signs. Everything is strictly laid down by the laws and everyone obeys yet I did not see one policeman anywhere.

Where ever you go there are huge shopping malls. The strange thing is one mall will just have computer shops, and I mean 4 floors of shops. the next one will have shoes or toys or fashion. There was one mall just dedicated  to action figures and dolls of super heroes. Most of the main malls along the city centre and around the bay are high end brand names. You think of a brand and you will find it. The skyline is pretty impressive with lots of skyscrapers but the building that stands out the most is the Marina Bay Sands. Three buildings, 57 floors high and connected by a huge banana boat shaped deck with a viewing platform and swimming pool. Being a modern city the design of some the buildings and bridges is awesome. There is even a floating football pitch on the bay. 

Walked around the gardens that have two huge domed greenhouses. The main feature of these gardens are the 16 story high mane made trees. These weird structures will eventually be covered in plants so that they resemble real trees. Why not just plant trees?? Later on after a shower returned to bay area and watched all the lights come on. There was a water and light show with lasers and projected images that was rather fantastic. After a late dinner back to the hostel.

The next day, Jonathons' girlfriend was arriving so we spent half the day walking around trying to find a cheap hotel as his girlfriend didn't want to stay in a hostel. By the time we sorted this out there was not much time left as I wanted to go up the Marine Bay Sands to watch the sunset. Walking through the hotel is very impressive  and also very up market. It costs about R150.00 rand to go up to the viewing deck so I dug deep into my budget. Rice only for the next few days. It takes about 10 seconds to travel up to the 56 floor and the view is amazing. If you want a beer it is R95.00 and a coke is R45.00. Just to get me moneys worth I stayed there for a few hours and watched the sun set and then the city light up below me. Not sure if it was worth the money but a good experience anyway.

Went looking for a cheap restaurant and found a place full of the locals. Prices were cheap but the only problem the only items on the menu were from the inside of animals. Intestines, tail, among the other organs. Not my kind of food. Fortunately found a great little Chinese just around the corner. That's my budget blown for Singapore and there are only so many shopping malls I can look at. Decided not to go into Raffles as everyone told me that it has no charm and is now just a tourist trap selling beers at R 120.00 and over R 200.00 for a blender mixed Singapore Sling. 

I have enjoyed being back in a civilized environment but it isn't really my scene. So tomorrow I catch the bus to Malaysia and am looking forward to it.
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Lu on

Interesting architecture!

GabonPhil on

People say Singapore is Asia for beginners, but Singapore is my favorite Asian city. Organised, marvellous food, tropical and green plus properly multicultural. Enjoy your time there Gus, I recommend Newton Hawker Centre for some food one evening. Cold beer and some assorted sate sticks to start. Cheers, Phil.

vagabondtour on

Hi Phil,
Thanks for the regular comments. Still having a great time and yes, Singapore is an amazing city. Just restricted by my budget! Will spend a few more weeks in Malaysia and then will go to Thailand and/or Vietnam. Depending on Tickets from Malaysia/Borneo.

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